SSA-Talks is a short series of conversations and discussions with a selected number of notable scholars, authors, and public intellectuals of Sri Lanka. Its primary aim is to re-visit and discuss key themes emerging from their critical contributions to the literature on social sciences, and thereby introduce those works to a new generation of researchers and students on Sri Lankan studies – based in Sri Lanka as well as overseas.
IN CONVERSATION WITH DR. S. SIVASEGARAM
Dr. S. Sivasegaram currently serves as Visiting Lecturer at the Engineering Faculty of the University of Peradeniya and the University of Jaffna. He had earlier served at the University of Peradeniya from 1964 until retirement as Senior Professor (in 2008) but for a thirteen year spell at Imperial College London (1984-1997).
IN CONVERSATION WITH DR. KUMARI JAYAWARDENA [ON FEMINISM]
In this conversation, Dr. Kumari Jayawardena speaks on some of the key themes emerging from her works on feminism and women’s rights movements, especially in the ‘Third World’, including Sri Lanka. Some of the key issues discussed relate to, inter alia, the relationship between anti-colonial nationalist struggles and feminism in the ‘Third World’, feminism and the role of women’s rights movements in Sri Lanka, the attitudes of conservative politicians to women’s participation in politics, and research in the area of feminist-studies.
IN CONVERSATION WITH PROF. JAYADEVA UYANGODA [ON SOCIAL-CHANGE]
In this conversation, Prof. Jayadeva Uyangoda talks about some of the key social changes that have taken place over the years. His focus is particularly on issues pertaining to caste, political parties and the politically-engaged Sangha community. Prof. Uyangoda also speaks about the role of astrology in politics. A little over two-decades ago, in a piece titled ‘Voodoo in Politics’, Prof. Uyangoda had written what sixty years of universal franchise may have produced in Sri Lanka’s political culture was sorcery. Would he say the same about astrology, too?
Mr. Periannan Pillai Devaraj is a veteran politician, activist and writer, especially on issues concerning the Indian Origin Tamils (IOTs) of Sri Lanka. He was a Member of Parliament from 1989 to 2001, and has held the post of State Minister for Hindu Religious Affairs. He was also the founder President of the Sri Lanka Chapter of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), and is currently on its management board.
Professor Jayadeva Uyangoda is a prominent political scientist and scholar in Sri Lanka. He is currently Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the University of Colombo, and has been associated with the Social Scientists’ Association (SSA) for a long period. His publications span a wide range of subjects; from democracy, local governance, state reform and social inclusion/exclusion to violence, human rights, ethnic politics and conflict resolution. Prof. Uyangoda has also been a key actor in drafting political proposals which have sought to resolve Sri Lanka’s protracted ethnic conflict.
The first conversation in the SSA-Talks series is with Dr. Kumari Jayawardena. A leading feminist scholar and social scientist, she has made significant contributions to research in the spheres of labour and capital, peasant movements, women’s studies and gender equality, plantation workers, nationalism and ethnic identities. Some of her key works have been translated into Sinhala and Tamil.